America is not a 'Christian nation'
Blaming the ills of society on the lack of prayer in school as Billie Thompson does (Forum, Dec. 21) is simplistic and unwarranted. Those ills, drugs and crime, are primarily economic in origin and would still be with us regardless.
Moreover, the Supreme Court did not declare it unconstitutional for children to pray in school. To say it did is a gross misrepresentation. A child can pray privately anytime in school. What the court said, in effect, is that the state has no business imposing religion on anyone. Children in school are a captive audience and no religious exercise under such a condition can be considered "free."
When Ms. Thompson says that Christians should unite to restore prayer in schools, what she is really saying is that Christians should unite to impose their religion on everyone else.
I have no doubt that Ms. Thompson would protest vehemently if the teacher in her child's classroom made her pupils face Mecca, prostrate themselves on the floor, and declare, "There is no God but Allah, and Mohammed is his prophet." Yet, Ms. Thompson thinks it is perfectly OK to impose Christian prayer on those same students.
Ms. Thompson, and others like her, must understand that this nation was not founded upon the Christian religion. Neither the Bible nor Christianity is mentioned in the Constitution. Furthermore, many of the founders of this Nation were not even Christians, but were Deists who rejected the Bible and used reason to find truth. In the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson even used the language of his deistic beliefs when he wrote the words, "the Laws of Nature and Nature's God."
Recently I read an article, "AIDS remains a threat in the U.S. blood supply" Other Voices, Nov. 29. My sister died on April 2, 1989, of AIDS as a result of a blood transfusion after battling the disease for nine years. I have been haunted by the experts saying our blood supplies are safe, and yet have found very little backing for my belief that the blood is still not safe.
There is so much work to be done surrounding the issue of AIDS, and I'm trying my hardest to educate so that help, love and compassion will be given to all those touched by this disease.
Little Falls, Minn.
Dana M. Levitz's response (Forum, Dec. 11) to H.J. Rizzo's letter (Forum, Nov. 30) concerning the number of lawyers in Maryland is little more than advertising for the incestuous corporation that acts as today's legal system. Congress is staffed by lawyers and assisted by lawyers who make laws for other lawyers to use as the basis for court actions in front of judges, who are lawyers themselves. If there is a problem of interpretation, the nine lawyers who comprise the Supreme Court will issue a ruling, and we can start the process all over again.
Judge Levitz missed the point of Rizzo's letter completely. What the judge wants us to believe is that the nexus of technology and personal aspiration leads to conflict that "requires" a lawyer. Rizzo was making a point that we as individuals have less freedom as time passes due to the explosion of laws we must all live with. The fact is the United States is the single most litigious society on Earth. As a nation we have a small percentage of the world's population and over 70 percent of its lawyers!
With so many lawyers trying to make a living, you get too many laws, too many special interests, reductions in freedom and the attendant lack of respect for the institutions that made this country great.
There is a saying: "In most legal actions, everyone loses and the lawyers get rich." The legal profession should start to listen to those it pretends to serve and stop trying to defend an institution in severe trouble. Quite simply, 800 new lawyers represent 1.6 million additional "billable hours," not necessarily an improvement to our societal lifestyle or lessening of conflict. In fact, it guarantees exactly the opposite of more justice. As for the self-policing aspects of the bar association, does his honor also believe in the tooth fairy?
The Watkins report
Even before Energy Secretary J.D. Watkins' report on energy conservation is made public, the Bush administration's top guns already are resisting plans for fuel conservation.
Among the leaders of this group are White House chief of staff John Sununu, chief economic adviser M.J. Boskin and budget director Richard Darman. Don't they know that the U.S. has less than 2 percent of the world's population and uses 35 percent of the world's oil production and wastes half of it?
Haven't they heard that Germany and Japan extract three times the amount of energy from a barrel of oil? Don't they know what the crisis in the gulf is all about?
Don't they know that oil imports are the largest contributor to the current recession?
Watkins should stand by his conservation report and not be intimidated by administration officials who are clearly trying to alter it.